19/12/14: E-cigs - What do we know?

Most people are aware of e-cigarettes these days, people are using them in the street, they are on sale in many shops, every week there seems to be another article in the news about them and they are even being advertised on television, but how much do we really know about e-cigs?
There is lots of evidence that suggests e-cigs may help to reduce smoking or to quit and general opinion is that it is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, however more research is needed to find out if it is a safe product to use and also whether it is an effective way to break nicotine addiction or whether it is just another way of getting this drug.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that e-cigs in fact feed nicotine addiction, with some users reporting that they use them more and more as time goes on, and some actually finding that they spend more money on e-cigs than they ever did on smoking. Others state that the fact it is more acceptable, has less perceived health risks and is allowed in more places than smoking tobacco, means again that they use it more than they would cigarettes.
There is also a big question about the safety of e-cigarettes with more and more reports of fires caused by chargers over heating. The LGA (Local Government Association) which represents all 46 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, revealed in November 2014 that fire services had been called out to 113 fires involving e-cigarettes since 2012. This had risen from 43 incidents in 2013 to 62 so far in 2014 at the time of the report. There have been reports of pets and small children becoming poorly and even being killed by accidentally swallowing the liquid, including a 1 year old toddler in New York who Fort Plain police confirmed had died after ingesting liquid nicotine. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported that calls to their poison control centres regarding liquid nicotine had risen from 1 per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014.
Despite the questions and concerns that exist around e-cigarettes, a lot of people are using them and find that they help with stopping smoking tobacco. If you are thinking about quitting smoking, whether you are considering using an e-cigarette or not, you can get in touch with Stop4Life. We have specialist advisors who can talk you through the journey to being smoke free, we are able to support those who are or are not using e-cigarettes, can discuss the different medications that are available to help you quit and also offer you free one to one support along the way which is proven to make you 4 times as likely to quit as going it alone.


Sue Pretty
Locality Lead Stop Smoking Advisor